Indian experts: Views of China’s top diplomats carry significance

In this undated file photo, Chinese amd Indian national flags flutter side by side at the Raisina hills in New Delhi, India. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

The views expressed by China's new foreign minister as well as the former minister recently carry special significance for bilateral relations, according to Indian experts.

Foreign Minister Qin Gang has expressed desire to improve ties with India in an op-ed piece for US-based magazine, “The National Interest”, which was published four days before he was named new foreign minister at year end.

It is a welcome move that both the new foreign minister and former foreign minister of China have expressed the will in the improvement of relations between India and China, said Shyam Saran, former Indian foreign secretary and a veteran diplomat.

This articulation of a positive outlook toward India by China’s new foreign minister is reassuring, said Professor Swaran Singh, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University or JNU, New Delhi

Qin wrote in the article: “China is committed to its foreign policy goals of upholding world peace and promoting common development, and it remains dedicated to building a community with a shared future for mankind. 

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“China’s development means a stronger force for peace, not a growing power poised to ‘break the status quo’, as some call it.”

This articulation of a positive outlook toward India by China’s new foreign minister is reassuring, said Professor Swaran Singh, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University or JNU, New Delhi. It also underlines the high priority that he wishes to attach to India-China relations.

Former foreign minister Wang Yi, who is now director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, said on Dec 25 that China is ready to work with India through steady and sound growth of the relations, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry website. 

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Wang said China and India have maintained communication through the diplomatic and military-to-military channels, and both countries are committed to upholding stability in the border areas. 

“We stand ready to work with India in the direction toward steady and sound growth of China-India relations," he said at a symposium on International Situation and China’s Foreign Relations in Beijing.

This statement came in the backdrop of a minor Dec 9 border faceoff between the Indian and Chinese soldiers.

In his article on Dec 26 titled “How China Sees the World”, Qin Gang said: "Both sides are willing to ease the situation and jointly protect peace along their borders." 

Sukh Deo Muni, Professor emeritus, JNU and a former special envoy and an ambassador, said both sides will continue to talk for peace because China has a stake in the economic prosperity of Southeast Asia and China wants to have good economic relations with South Asia, including India. They do not want to lose the Indian market, he said.

The 17th round of the India-China corps commander level meeting was held at a border meeting point on the Chinese side on Dec 20, according to the joint press release issued by China's Ministry of National Defense and Indian Federal Ministry of External Affairs on Dec 22.

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“The two sides exchange views on the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC (Line of Actual Control) in the western sector, in an open and constructive manner. They had frank and in-depth discussion, keeping in line with the guidance provided by the state leaders, to work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest, which would help in restoration of peace and tranquility along the LAC in the western sector and enable progress in bilateral relations,” the joint statement said.

Former Indian Army chief Shankar Roy Chowdhury said: “I think good sense is prevailing on both sides.”

India’s opposition parties, led by the Indian National Congress, have continued to put pressure on the federal government on the issue. Their members staged a walkout from the parliament during a winter session in December demanding a statement from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding current border situation and current state of relations between the two countries.

The writer is a freelance journalist for China Daily.